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30 Jan 2017
Heavy wet snow damaging trees

Oh Snap! Heavy Wet Snow Is Damaging My Trees… What Should I Do?

What to Do to Help Repair Damaged Trees Caused by Ice and Snow

Heavy snowstorms, strong wind gusts, and ice formations during the cold winter months can really do a number on your property. Cars parked on the streets could be covered in snow by morning. But one of the most common problems encountered by property owners during winter is the damage that is sustained by trees, shrubberies, and other plant life in the property.

When a property owner encounters snow damaged trees, his first instinct is to grab a chainsaw and cut down the branch or limb that sustained the damage. This is not always the best idea, however. After a heavy snowstorm, if you want to check what kind of damage your trees have received from the night before, there are few things you need to consider doing, for safety purposes.


Useful Tips for Dealing with Snow Damaged Trees after a Snowstorm


Tip #1: Carefully Assess the Surrounding Area

Before you start clearing fallen branches and tree limbs, make sure that you check the surrounding area first. Safety should always be your number one priority. In situations like this, broken branches and limbs may hit utility lines such as power, telephone, and cable. You need to assess the area and render it safe before doing anything else.


Tips #2: Check the Damaged Portion of the Tree

Don’t go near or start climbing the tree. There could be branches or limbs that are merely hanging by a thread. A slight gust of wind could easily dislodge it. The last thing you want is a broken tree branch falling on top of you.

Sometimes, trees and shrubs tend to bend under the sheer weight of ice and snow. Don’t panic. As long as the main branch and major limbs of the tree are not broken, and 50% or more of the crown is undamaged, the tree can still recover.


Tip #3: Keep Your Cool When Dealing with Snow Damaged Trees

Instead of rushing to remedy the broken tree branches, you need to be patient. During a snowstorm, or in the following days immediately after the storm, there’s actually very little you or anyone can do to help the tree at this point.

You can, however, start to remove any potential hazards to pedestrians, such as broken branches that you can easily reach. Using a ladder at this point can be dangerous. So avoid using ladders or climbing the tree, for that matter.

If there are broken branches high up in the tree, just put a sign under it to warn passersby. Save the more serious decisions for later. The key is to focus on tree recovery rather than chopping it down and feeding it to the wood chipper.


Tip #4: Carefully Remove Easy-to-Reach Broken Branches by Pruning

A few days after the snowstorm that damaged some of your trees, you can start the pruning process to remove the affected parts of the tree. However, you need to be careful not to over-prune. Most people tend to over-prune their trees to remove the damaged portions and to balance the look of the tree.

You need to remember that the goal at this point is not about appearance, the goal is to help the tree to fully recover. After the pruning process, the tree might look a bit awkward or uneven, but trees grow quick. And before you know it, new foliage will soon occupy the bare areas of the tree and it will look vibrant and healthy once again.


Tip #5: Don’t Hesitate to Seek Professional Help (for the tree, not you)

Getting professional help is probably the best way to deal with trees that are damaged by cold winds, snow, and ice. The term professional is not used loosely here, though. Just because you have a guy with a chainsaw, a pair of work gloves, a hardhat, and a pickup truck doesn’t mean that he’s a tree care professional.

What you want is to find a reputable Arborist or tree care company in your area. Jobs like this require up-to-date methods and expertise that not a lot of people can handle. Plus, if you blindly rely on those without proper credentials, there’s a pretty good chance you will regret your decision later on.

In the event of an accident occurring in your property, you will most likely be held liable if the company you hire has no insurance. So be careful when seeking professional help.


Have questions or something to add? Comment below!


More info:


Wikimedia Commons photo by Mhus at English Wikipedia [CC0], via Wikimedia Common

28 Jan 2017
commercial property value

How to Increase (and Preserve) the Value of Your Commercial Property

Simple Ways to Maintain or Add Value to Your Commercial Real Estate Property

Commercial real estate is arguably one of the most lucrative investments around, especially when approached in a wise and strategic manner. Whatever your plans are for the property, whether you decide to rent it out to tenants or use it to house your own business operations, putting some time, effort, and perhaps cash on it will certainly help increase commercial property value that will be beneficial to you in the long run.

So exactly, how do you increase the value of your property without breaking the bank?

There is a myriad of ways to improve the value of a commercial property without spending a ton of money. The key is to make the property appealing to potential tenants, increasing rent, while minimizing its operation or maintenance cost.

The crucial steps that will be covered in this article involve the structural and cosmetics elements of the commercial property and operational costs.


Key Considerations to Help Increase Commercial Property Value

1. Make the essential changes in the structural and cosmetics elements of the property.

Adding more square footage to the property can sometimes be more economical.

Depending on how the property is being used, adding more square footage to meet the needs and demands of clients, or to increase the number of tenants, is really a practical option at times. If adding square footage laterally isn’t possible, then doing it vertically by constructing additional floors is certainly a possibility that may cost you extra, but will be profitable in the long run.

If your commercial property is in high demand, then it may benefit you to add more rentable units such as offices, storefronts, storage facilities and warehouses, and parking space. Again, this all depends on the type of commercial property you have.


Make some improvements on the exterior elements of your property.

The point here is to catch the attention or pique the interest of potential tenants. The best way to do that is to make the exterior of your property more appealing to your target clientele. You should also remember that the external appearance of any property can influence its overall value.

Luckily, there are a few low-cost solutions to help improve the appearance of any commercial real estate property:

  • Look for local cleaning and garbage pickup services to take care of the cleaning and garbage needs of your tenants and the entire property. It may not be obvious, but a clean property often presents a significant impact on its value.
  • Making sure that the common areas in your property, such as the parking lots, bathrooms, walkways, and the yards are clean is also the easiest and cheapest way to add value to your commercial property.
  • Update all exterior furnishings like doors, windows, lawn ornaments, and even security cameras and the paint of the building. This will help improve the overall appearance of the property.
  • Invest in landscaping and professional Arborists. Believe it or not, planting trees in your property will not only enhance its visual appeal, but it adds to its value as well. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that your lawns are regularly trimmed and well maintained.


2. Try to improve efficiency and minimize operational costs.

The fact is the reason you want to increase the value of your commercial property is to hopefully increase your profit/income. Now, one way to boost profit is to demand for more rent. But you can’t do that until you increase the value of the property.

There’s a possible easy solution though.

In addition to increasing the property value, you could also try decreasing operational expenses, of course, without sacrificing the safety and security of your tenants. You need to understand that in a commercial property, its value mainly depends on how profitable the property is. Now, profits may increase through raising rents or by reducing the overall operational cost.

And here’s how:

  • Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs throughout the property.
  • Contact your local utilities company and see if they can individually meter units. This way, you can pass on some of the utility expenses to the tenants.
  • Consider investing in modern heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to further optimize your property’s energy consumption.
  • Make sure to apply regular maintenance throughout the property. Consistent maintenance is a proactive prevention solution that you should never take for granted.


Questions? Comment below!


More info: photo by Leeroy

26 Jan 2017

Question of the Month: What Trees or Shrubs Can Help Provide Privacy?

Would you be able to help me with a tree or shrub that would provide privacy?”

– John D. | Grayeagle, CA

We would love to help you with that. We will want to use an evergreen variety. There are three great ones that do well in our region, Leland Cypress, Austrian Pine or Hollywood Juniper are the easiest and fastest growers for our high desert region. The cypress grows 12 to 15 ft wide and 30 to 40 ft tall, the pine grows 30 wide and 40 tall, the juniper 10 ft wide 15 to 20 wide. Try not to plant in an area to small for the plant to reach maturity, make sure you don’t crowd them. Crowding can cause all kinds of issues including insects, and broken branches. 

Have a question for us? Comment below, or send us a message.


American Arborists LogoMore About American Arborists

American Arborists is a client-driven, professional tree service company committed to providing arboricultural services that increase the health, safety, value, and overall brilliance of your trees.

American Arborists has been serving Reno, Carson, and Lake Tahoe with professional tree service since 2007. It is our belief that educating our community about arboriculture improves the health of the treescape we all share and helps keep Reno, Sparks, and Carson City beautiful. Our mission is to provide the highest quality tree service that ensures your trees health and exceeds your customer service expectations. We are passionate about being the best at what we do. By attracting, training and retaining great people, we set the standard for tree service and professionalism in the Reno/Tahoe area.

Our experienced team of tree service professionals serve a wide variety of clients, including many of Nevada’s largest commercial and property management companies, real estate developers and contractors, golf courses, parks and recreation areas, private residences and estates, and consulting Arborists seeking partnerships for the most ambitious projects.

23 Jan 2017
Winter Mulch

Why Winter Is a Wonderful Time to Use Mulch for Soil Protection

Winter is a stressful time for plants and trees. The soil condition and the extremely low temperatures are detrimental to the health and development of plants. Regardless of the type of garden you have, whether it’s a small one that consists of a few potted plants or an acre of vegetable or flowering plants and trees, the best thing you can do is to prepare them for the coming winter season.

This means taking care of all their nutritional and hydration needs. For trees and shrubberies, using the right amount of winter mulch can go a long way in maintaining optimum soil temperature and preserving moisture in the root system. For seasonal crops, the best thing you can do is harvest those that are ready and prepare the plot for planting for the coming spring.


But what makes mulching so important?

Spreading the right amount and type of mulch in your garden plays a significant role in maintaining the health and development of the crops, as well as the viability of the soil they stand in. during the cold winter months, a layer of mulch on the top soil will provide the ground with adequate insulation and protection against the elements.

The roots of trees and shrubberies can be prevented from completely freezing over by simply adding a layer of mulch around the plant.


The Different Types of Mulch for the Yard or Garden

Gardens come in many different sizes, shapes, and characteristics in terms of the type of plants that are growing in them. There are gardens that house flowering plants that add aesthetic charm to one’s front yard, while there are those that grow vegetable plants and crops for household consumption.

But regardless of the type of crops or flowering plants you have growing in your garden, they all can benefit from the use of mulch, especially during the harsh winter months.

Although there are a wide variety of mulch types available out there, this can be divided into two key categories, the organic and inorganic mulch.

  • Organic or Natural Mulch – This category typically includes wood chips, grass clippings, crushed leaves, pine straws, and hardwood shavings in the mixture. This material is available from garden centers, Arborists, power companies, and municipal yard waste facilities. It is very durable and makes an excellent material for covering paths and walkways. If used on landscape beds, nitrogen deficiencies will develop if fertilizer is not periodically applied.
  • Inorganic or Synthetic Mulch – This mixture generally has components like crushed rock, pebbles, plastic chips, and rubber shavings.

By comparison, natural or organic mulch is much cheaper than synthetic or inorganic mulch. However, because organic mulch is subject to decay and deterioration, it has to be replaced more frequently compared to inorganic mulch.


The Benefits of Using Mulch in the Winter Season

Mulch can actually be used all year round due to its ability to provide insulation and soil protection. But the process of mulching is especially effective during the winter months because it is the time of year when plants and trees need the most insulation.

  • Mulches that are specifically designed for the fall and winter seasons help create an insulating barrier on the ground, between the warmth of the soil and the harsh cold air. The mulch effectively protects the plant roots from intermittent fluctuations of temperature in the soil.
  • Specific types of mulches also prevent soil erosion and compaction caused by heavy rains and snow, thus preserving good soil condition when spring arrives.
  • Because of the insulating properties of mulches, they also help preserve moisture in the soil, ensuring proper hydration of the root system of the plant.
  • Since natural or organic mulches slowly break down over time, these types also contribute to the enrichment of nutrients within the soil. This can be a huge advantage for ground soil that has low or poor fertility. By spring, you will have a healthy and fertile soil ready for planting new crops.
  • Winter mulch also helps minimize mechanical and winter injuries that are often sustained by exposed roots and trunks. They play a role in weed control as well as protect the plant from injuries caused by lawnmowers and weed eaters.
  • Certain types of mulch, such as cedar, pinewood, and cypress chips have characteristics that help repel ticks, fleas, and gnats.


The Bottom Line

If you want to preserve the health of your garden soil or protect the growth and development process of your trees and shrubberies, you will need the right kind of mulch to apply in your yard or garden. Keep in mind that winter is especially challenging for your plants and trees, so make sure to prepare their beds with the appropriate amount and the right kind of mulch before winter comes.


Stocksnap photo by Les Anderson


How are you protecting your soil this winter? Comment below. 


19 Jan 2017

How To Properly Remove Outdoor Tree Lights (Without Damaging Them)

Holidays are over! Pretty sad, right?

Whether we like it or not, we have to face that fact that we need to go back to school or work, and wait for the next Christmas season to come—which is 11 months from now! However, just because the holidays have come and gone doesn’t mean that there aren’t traces of them anymore in your house. For sure, there are plenty presents left unwrapped yet and the fridge is still brimming with leftovers from your Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebration. Apart from that, we are also pretty certain that most of your Christmas decors and holiday trees are still up, reminding you of how awesome your holiday season went.

But as it is now January, it is really time to take down all those Christmas ornaments and tuck them away. And while you won’t have a problem taking down the rest of your Christmas decors, removing Christmas lights from your outdoor trees or shrubs is another story.

Why? Because as much as possible, we don’t want to harm them in any way.

Here are 5 essential tips how to take care of your trees while removing the lights mounted on them last Yuletide season:

1. Do It Gently

The first step, of course, in removing the lights from your outdoor shrubs and/or trees is to do things in a gentle manner. We don’t want any twigs or branches getting broken.

Why is that?

Because most deciduous plants have their buds already growing for the next year’s flowers and leaves. Carelessly pulling the strings of lights off your trees can potentially damage the trees’ buds, especially since frozen branches/twigs easily snap.

And even though new buds will regrow during the spring season that is certainly a lot of time.

2. When Dealing with Tall Trees, Use a Ladder

Apart from doing things in a gentle manner, removing the lights from the trees should be done slowly. So don’t even think of hastily pulling off the lights from the ground. This can damage your trees, and we definitely don’t want that to happen.

Now, what’s the proper way of removing the lights from tall trees?

Use a ladder and slowly remove the strings of lights from the trees. Be sure to also secure your safety as you climb the ladder. Do not climb the ladder if you are not properly dressed or if you do not have the right tools for the job.

An important rule is next on our list.

3. Last up, First Off Rule

Be sure to remember the rule last up, first off when removing the lights from your trees. This means that the strings that you should remove first are the ones that you placed on the trees last. Doing this will help avoid tangling the strings of lights, which can also damage the plants.

4. Carefully Take Down the Clips or Hooks Used

Aside from using a ladder when removing the strings of lights from the trees, you should also remove all the hooks or clips that you have used to securely attach them during the Christmas season. Leaving them on the leaves or twigs can potentially damage your trees too. They can puncture the branches or even harm kids or people who pass by the plants.

They also mess with the aesthetics of your place; nobody wants to see trees with clips and hooks attached to them.

5. String the Lights Properly So You Won’t Have a Hard Time Removing Them

Technically speaking, the best way that you can to avoid damaging your trees when you remove the strings of light is by stringing them on your trees properly. When it comes to placing these festive lights on your outdoor plants, you have to remember to do it carefully or else you run the risk of damaging their bark or worse, breaking the branches. Make sure also to spot growing branches and avoid placing anything there in order not to strangle them. Photo by Jez Timms

Share your tips with us by commenting below.

16 Jan 2017
watch out for improper practices

Watch Out For These Improper Practices Used By Untrained Tree Companies

Did you know that even with advanced knowledge, recently developed techniques for proper tree maintenance and the vast amount of information we have at our disposal, there are still a lot of tree companies out there that call themselves “professionals” who practice outdated and harmful tree care practices?

And here’s the thing . . .

These improper practices are sometimes so common in certain areas that most people, homeowners to be exact, believe that the methods these so-called tree professionals employ are harmless and accepted by the community.

Take for example the use of spikes or spurs to climb trees that are about to be pruned—there are a lot of safer and more harmless ways to climb trees without poking or stabbing them with spikes from your boot. You just have to take the time to do your research and learn.

But no, a number of tree companies still adopt this method of climbing trees. It’s a shame to say, but some of these companies are quite established and have been in operation for decades.

Improper Practices Still Being Adopted by a Number of Tree Arborists in the Industry

If you think that climbing trees using spikes is a problem, hold on to your hat; there are a lot more harmful practices that many untrained Arborists still employ today.

Not considering overhead and underground obstructions when planting trees.

Believe it or not, a lot of professionals don’t really think enough about proper spacing when moving or planting trees. These people fail to grasp the importance of spacing to avoid overhead and underground obstructions.

So what happens when spacing is disregarded?

Trees grow, and sooner or later they will outgrow a small space. As a result, tree canopies could reach power lines; root systems could reach pavements or any man-made structure and cause damage to that structure, as well as to the roots.

Before planting, the type and size of the tree when fully grown should be considered when determining the appropriate amount of spacing to be allotted.

Incorrect application of mulch to insulate the soil around the tree.

Every professional, every tree company appreciates the value of mulch in providing appropriate insulation for the tree’s root system. But not all of them are aware of the proper way to actually apply it.

Are you aware of the term “mulch volcano”? Mulch volcano refers to mulch that is piled up against the trunk of a tree, making it look like a volcano. This is a practice that can damage, sometimes even kill, trees. Unfortunately, a lot of untrained tree companies still observe this practice for aesthetic purposes.

So what’s the correct way to apply mulch?

We can all agree that mulch is very important, especially when preparing the tree for the cold winter months. The right amount of mulch and the proper way to apply it depends on the species of the tree.

The safest way to apply the mulch is to place it around the tree, 3-4 feet in diameter, without the mulch ever touching the trunk. And as far as the thickness of the mulch being applied is concerned, it should be around 3-4 inches deep.

Improper pruning of trees, particularly the practice of topping.

Topping is a pruning practice that is widely rejected by reputable tree companies and professionals in the industry. In fact, topping is illegal in some states.

So, what is topping?

Topping is a pruning practice that refers to the indiscriminate removal or cutting of branches and limbs in order to shorten the height of the tree. Also known as a tree haircut, this lazy and inconsiderate practice actually creates more problems instead of providing an aesthetic appearance to your trees.

Tree topping creates large wounds on the tree that could result in decay, and eventually, the death of the tree. The decay can spread quite quickly over time and will compromise the structural integrity of the limbs and branches.

A small gust of wind and the weight of ice or snow can cause the limbs to break and fall off, which may result in unfortunate accidents, especially if the tree is in an area with heavy pedestrian traffic.

These improper tree care practices are just a few of the many incorrect methods and techniques being used by a number of so-called tree professionals. The sooner you learn about these kinds of practices, the better you are at choosing the right tree company to handle all your tree care needs.


Comment below and share your thoughts!


More info:


Wikimedia Commons photo by Kenneth Allen

14 Jan 2017

2017 New Year’s Resolutions (From Your Trees)

It’s a new year once again, which means I have a new growth ring that tells a story of all my experiences in the past year, both good and bad. The past year was full of exciting moments, spending most of the afternoons watching little Johnny having fun playing with the swing his father placed on one of my stronger branches. I can only hope to become stronger this year so I can continue to support little Johnny’s weight as he swings back and forth with glee.

My list of resolutions this year is modest; I just want to be able to grow in peace. I would like to provide shade to anyone who needs it, provide a stable home for my avian friends, and bear fruits for my human companions to enjoy.

But in order for me and my fellow trees to realize our New Year’s resolutions, we’re going to need all the help we can get from our human friends. Here are some of our resolutions that we hope you can help us achieve this year.


New Year’s Resolutions – From Your Tree


  1. Give me mulch and I promise to become healthy, grow bigger, and provide a beautiful green glow to your garden.


Not a lot of humans are aware of the importance of mulch and the process of mulching when it comes to the health and development of us trees, especially those who are newly planted and are still getting acquainted with their new surroundings.

So why do we need mulch?

  • Mulch helps to insulate the ground soil we stand on, providing a strong buffer from fluctuating hot and cold temperatures.
  • It helps to retain water and moisture in our root system, thus keeping us well-hydrated and healthy.
  • Mulch helps combat weed growth, effectively eliminating our main competition for water and nutrition.
  • Mulch reduces the negative effects of compaction common in urban environments.

This year, if you promise to take care of our mulch needs, we in turn promise to provide you with thick foliage for shade, strong branches for your kids to climb, and sweet, juicy fruits for the entire family to enjoy.


  1. Keep us well-hydrated and we will develop into a healthy and vibrant tree you will be proud of. Your neighborhood will be thanking you for it.

Tree watering is a crucial part in our development, especially for those of us who are newly planted or have just been relocated to a different environment. Even though a lot of our kind tend to live for decades, if not hundreds of years, during our formative years, we do need your help when it comes to hydration.

So how do you effectively provide us with our daily watering needs?

  • For trees that are newly planted – It is important to give us water immediately after we are planted. Our roots are still getting acquainted with the ground and the new soil composition; we need all the moisture we can get to firmly attach ourselves to our new environment.
  • The first couple of years are crucial for our development – The first two growing seasons is quite challenging for most of us, especially for those who need an extensive amount of water and moisture to grow and develop.
  • Hot summers are especially difficult for us – During the hot summer months, we spend most of our energy growing, producing buds near the end of summer. This occurs during what is referred to as lignification. Trees do most of their growing in the early summer.  In late summer they store up reserves to begin the growing process again the following spring. During this time, we need all the help we can get from our human companions.  lack of water reduces our leaves ability to produce sugars through photosynthesis and remain cool through the process of evapotranspiration.  In severe cases our leaves may wilt or even fall off to prevent further water loss.
  • Proper mulching can go a long way in maintaining root moisture – Heat and drought can cause our root system to dry up, preventing us from getting water and moisture from the soil. You can avoid this by covering the top soil with wood-chip mulch in order to maintain ideal temperatures underneath and sustain moisture and water in the soil.


  1. Prune me right and I will grow into a lush and vibrant tree that will enhance the beauty and elegance of your yard.

Every once in a while I will require a good pruning to establish and maintain good health and structure especially if I am young tree. As I mature pruning will help me remain healthy and beautiful.  Be sure to have a goal set before establishing a pruning plan, never prune without an objective, remove dead, diseased and crossing branches so that I can heal properly and not waste energy on problematic branches.  Please use proper pruning practices to ensure all the pruning cuts heal properly, don’t remove too much foliage or you may cause more harm then good especially if I am mature.

Happy New Year! What are some of your New Years resolutions for 2017? Comment below.


Stocksnap photo by Ryan Hafey

12 Jan 2017

Uh Oh. Are Homeowners Liable for Tree Care Accidents?

Know Your Responsibilities and Liabilities: Why DIY Tree Care is Always a Dangerous Proposition

Homeowners are responsible for whatever happens inside their property. And with that being said, they are potentially liable for whatever mishaps or accidents that occur within the property grounds. If you have trees inside your property, and you don’t take care of them regularly, if a branch breaks and land on someone, hurting them in the process, you will be held liable for the injuries that person may have sustained.

In addition, if you have professionals working on your property and they get hurt while pruning one of your trees, you may even be held liable for whatever tree care accidents that occur, especially if the company’s credentials and paperwork are not in order.

So what does this mean?

To avoid getting sued or get slapped with a fine, you need to pay closer attention to the trees that grow within your property. To make sure that the trees are in good condition, you may want to consider doing regular tree care maintenance. And for that, you’re going to have to hire a professional tree care service.


Not All Tree Service Companies Are Equal

Before you decide to hire any particular tree care professional or company, you need to do some research to make sure that they meet the following standards:

  • Insurance – Tree care companies must have liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance if they’re going to work in their client’s property. Otherwise, you the homeowner, will be legally liable for any accidents that take place in your property while they are in your employ.
  • Good Reputation – When you do your research, you should also make sure that the company you want to hire has a good reputation within the industry. Try to verify any professional affiliations they might have. You can also check with the Better Business Bureau for more information about the company.
  • Local References – You should always ask for references before you decide to hire the company. This will allow you to check the quality of their work and whether or not previous clients were satisfied or disappointed with their service.
  • Knowledge and Expertise – Check to see if the company has up-to-date knowledge and expertise regarding proper tree care and safety protocols. This is very important as it ensures safety and limits the occurrence of workplace accidents.
  • Contracts – Make sure to carefully check the contract so will know what your responsibilities are as the homeowner and what your liabilities might be. Never hire a company without a written contract.


Why Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Tree Maintenance Is Not a Good Idea

If you’re worried about homeowner liability when it comes to tree maintenance, then you should probably think twice about DIY tree care, especially if you have no experience whatsoever in this kind of work.

That’s not all . . .

Sure, pruning tree branches and cutting off rotten tree limbs sounds simple enough. In reality, it actually isn’t. In fact, working with trees, specifically the bigger ones, is extremely complicated and dangerous without the appropriate knowledge or expertise.

Accidents and injuries can occur, improper handling of cut tree limbs to faulty pruning equipment. And if a neighbor happens to walk by as you were sawing off a large branch, and it hits the person on the head, you would be in serious trouble.

Accident factors that are commonly associated with DIY tree care work:

  1. The use of extension ladders.

If you’re doing your own tree maintenance work, at some point you’re going to need an extension ladder in order to reach the upper portions of the tree. You might want to think carefully about how you’re going to use the extension ladder. A lot of DIY tree care accidents have occurred because of the improper use of extension ladders.

  1. Sharp, heavy, or faulty equipment.

Chainsaws, pruning shears, hand axe—these are tools that require some form of mastery before they can be operated safely. And even then, accidents may still happen, especially if the equipment is faulty. Professionals have years of training trying to operate such equipment. And because they’ve mastered the use of the equipment, they make it look easy. Assuming that operating a chainsaw is easy would be your first mistake.

  1. Inadequate knowledge about the physics and biology of trees.

Simply sawing or hacking away branches and limbs with your chainsaw and axe is really foolhardy and dangerous. Proper calculations, sufficient knowledge about tree biology, and common sense are important when it comes to tree care safety and avoiding unnecessary accidents.


What are your thoughts? Comment below!


Stocksnap photo by

08 Jan 2017
tree protection from harsh weather

How to Protect Your Trees from the Harsh Winter Weather

Typical winter weather takes a serious toll on trees, regardless of whether it’s a newly planted growing tree or an aging one that’s over a decade old. Snow storms, the rapid fluctuation of temperatures between the day time and night time, and drought—all these are detrimental to the health of your tree.

So what does this mean for the average tree owner?

For any homeowner who has a tree or two in his property, tree health is a major concern, especially during this time of year. Concerns about the overall health of a tree are not only for the benefit of the tree itself, but also for the neighborhood and the people living within its vicinity.

A sickly or weak tree could break a branch at any moment. Even the slightest gust of wind could cause a large, heavy limb to break and fall. Now, what if kids were playing underneath the tree? What if the broken limb is directly above a portion of your house?


How to Effectively Deal with the Various Problems That Winter Brings

Dealing with Extreme and Fluctuating Temperatures

Fluctuating temperatures can cause a lot of stress on trees in a variety of ways. On mature trees, for instance, the rapid changes in temperature between the daytime warmth from the sun and night time sub-zero conditions can wreak havoc within the tree, specifically between the outer layer/bark and the inner wood.

The stress brought about the rapid change of temperature will eventually lead to cracks, otherwise known as frost cracking or southwest injury—referring to the part of the tree that receives the most exposure from winter sunlight.


What Should You Do to Avoid This?

In the majority of the cases, there is very little that you can do to prevent frost cracking from occurring, especially if you live in an area with harsh winters. More often than not, trees sustaining such injuries can repair themselves over time. The cracked area, however, will remain vulnerable, so you have to be careful of subsequent cracking occurring in that same area if you want to avoid serious damage to the plant.

As part of your fall maintenance procedure, you might want to consider wrapping the bark of your trees with commercial tree blankets to prevent moisture loss and frost cracking. Applying the appropriate winter mulch on the ground surrounding the tree is also advisable to provide adequate insulation on the plant’s root system.

Late growth injuries brought about by sudden temperature drops is also a common problem among trees and other plants. Ice crystals can form and rupture the cell walls on the growing tips of a tree branch. To avoid this, you should only perform the pruning process until after the tree has entered into its dormant stage during the fall.


Combating Winter Drought

Winter drought is a very real problem for trees and other plant life, especially in areas that experience harsh winters and really low temperatures. Winter drought usually happens when a plant, particularly a tree, loses more water than it can absorb from the frozen ground. This is especially common during early spring when the warm spring sun begins to heat up the tree but the ground is still frozen solid, preventing it from absorbing enough moisture.


A Proactive Solution that is Easy to Implement

Granted that there is no surefire way to prevent winter drought from occurring, you can minimize its effects by simply spreading a thick layer of organic winter mulch around the base of the tree. You apply the mulch in late fall, just before winter starts to hit. The mulch will serve as insulation, acting as a temperature buffer for the root system while slowing down moisture loss and runoff.


Preventing Limb and Branch Breakage

Tree limbs and branches are especially vulnerable to breakage during the winter season. This is particularly common among deciduous trees where the wood hardens due to cold temperatures and become brittle and susceptible to breakage, even with just a little gust of wind. Then there’s the accumulation of ice and snow on the branches, adding more weight, which again may result in breakage.


What To Do

The best solution to minimizing branch breakage lies in the fall maintenance of your trees, specifically the pruning process. This is why pruning is very important. Not just the process itself, but how and when you do the pruning.

Make sure to prune the tree after it enters dormancy to prevent late growth injuries, and make sure to remove any damaged limbs and weak branches before winter hits.


How do you protect your trees during harsh weather months? What has worked well for you in the past? Comment below.


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Seasonal Tree Care

Stocksnap photo by Jay Mantri

07 Jan 2017

6 Common Misconceptions about Tree Pruning

You might think you know all about tree pruning. But just so you know, there are plenty of experienced gardeners and tree caretakers who still have no clue regarding what it is really all about and why it is necessary.

As a matter of fact, gardeners and other people in charge of tree care and management have contradictory views and opinion about pruning. Let’s take for example the fact that most of them think that tree topping and pruning are the same. They are not.

Topping is an improper trimming practice that reputable Arborists would not practice, and in fact is illegal by many city pruning ordinances. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) defines topping as an “inappropriate pruning technique to reduce tree size, cutting back a tree to predetermined crown limit, often at internodes.” In other words – tree topping is bad, tree pruning is good. 

We’re going to debunk some of the common misconceptions about pruning. But before we do that, let’s tackle why pruning is considered essential for growing trees:

  1. Pruning removes diseased, damaged or crossing branches. When not removed, these branches can prove deleterious to the tree.
  2. Pruning prevents can prevent conflicts with structures, walkways, traffic and views.
  3. Pruning can be used to thin the crown of the tree in order to improve air circulation and reduce negative effects of high winds.
  4. Pruning improves tree structure through removal of hazardous branches and suppression of competing branches.

Debunking Pruning Myths

  • Myth #1: Trees Can Perfectly Do Well without Pruning

This is surely the most common misconception people believe concerning pruning. We hate to break it to you, but trees (regardless of what species) need pruning. Failing to prune your trees will not only have a negative effect on their appearance but their health too.

Apart from promoting a fuller appearance, pruning makes the tree grow stronger too. Any Arborist worth his or her salt won’t ever deem this process as an optional one.

  • Myth #2: Trees That Are Pruned Early in the Spring Will Bleed and Suffer from Health Problems

Some species of trees bleed excessively when pruned early during the spring season. However, this bleeding does not do any significant damage to the tree. When pruning trees like birch or maple during spring, don’t panic when they start to exude sap.

  • Myth #3: Cutting Close to the Tree’s Trunk When Pruning Help the Wounds Heal

A proper thinning or reduction cut is located outside the branch bark ridge and branch collar an easily identifyable elevated or humped area near the point of attachment. This region contains the tissues responsible for wound closure. The practice of flush cutting or cutting which removes the branch bark ridge and branch collar remove the trees ability to close the pruning wound and needs to be avoided.

  • Myth #4: Trees Should Not Be Pruned during Summer

This is another misconception that is not altogether true. Some pruning including corrective pruning, or light crown cleaning can be done during the summer months without causing any harm. On the other hand removal of large quantities of live tissue during periods of high temperatures or drought can cause significant stress or decline especially in mature trees. Be sure to consult your ISA Certified Arborist before any significant trimming especially in the summer.

  • Myth #5: Fruit Trees and Shade Trees Can Be Pruned Similarly

Ask any Arborist or a professional tree care management expert and you will immediately know that pruning shade trees and fruits trees in the same manner would be a huge mistake.

Shade trees should not be pruned as heavily as fruit trees. Pruning practices should be based on species and property owners goals, some fruit trees flower on second year growth which would require pruning be done shortly after bud break in the spring to ensure beautiful spring flowers where other species fruit on first year growth, in this case pruning should be done during the dormant season.

  • Myth #6: Root Pruning Will Not Harm the Tree

Removal of substantial roots can cause significant damage, and significantly reduce the trees ability to translocate water and nutrients into the canopy to fuel the process of photosynthesis. Removing even 1 large root could significantly increase a trees risk of failure or decline. Consult an arborist about proactive ways to reduce the conflict of roots with structures or landscape improvements.


What are some of the myths you’ve heard about tree pruning? Comment below.


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Tree Trimming photo by Stephen Ellis